Transition US is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as the official national hub for the Transition Movement here in the United States. Founded with great help from Post Carbon Institute in 2009 and governed by a Memorandum of Understanding with the international Transition Network. Our Board of Directors oversees the organization’s financial health and strategic development, while four part-time staff members run operations.
We envision a just world where humanity lives in harmony with nature and cultivates regenerative systems for all aspects of living. We envision communities (everywhere) who are co creating healthy, healing, and connected ways of thriving on (the) Earth.
The mission of Transition US is to catalyze, coordinate, and support a national network of grassroots groups who are actively cultivating just, resilient, and regenerative communities.
Jess Alvarez-Parfrey, (she/they), California
Marissa Mommaerts, (she/her), Colorado
Elvia Cruz-Garcia, (she/her), California
Alex Zubia, (he/him), California
Alex Zubia, who goes by “Xef” is a Chef by trade. Born and raised in Fresno, CA (yokuts Land). Alex attended The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco (Ramaytush Ohlone land) in 2007. His passion for cooking came with his passion for eating. From 2008-2015 he worked at Community Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room as a Patient Liaison. During that time he witnessed people from his community dying from diet related issues. That realization led him to opening his food truck, which focused on healthier, farm to fork versions of familiar foods. In 2015, Alex moved to Santa Barbara (Chumash Land) to further his skills as a chef. There, he discovered that so much of the beautiful produce he was cooking with came from Fresno. He wondered why he never saw all this produce available in Fresno. Alex moved back to his hometown in 2021 to fight for food justice as a Food Sovereignty Director at Fresno Barrios Unidos. Alex’s goal is to bring his community back to eating and cooking their indigenous foods which are so plentiful in the Central Valley.
Gabriela Silva Hernandez, (they/she), California
Gabi (they/she) is deeply rooted in community, self-love, and practicing holistic sustainability. Growing up in alternative economy structures, they realized how pivotal community is in addressing and meeting the needs of one another through non-extractive exchanges. They have three years of experience in working with unions, founded a local community pantry in Isla Vista, and facilitated healing spaces for LGBTQ and misogyny-affected people. Through their work, they have brought attention to issues of gender-based violence that exists internationally, held space for mutual exchange of support, and fought the greediness of large corporations and institutions.
They believe that the first step in creating a more equitable and regenerative future is imagination, because “para soñar es vivir”(in order to live, one must dream first). Having collaborated with people from all walks of life in political, healing, and creative spaces, they realize how vital storytelling is in understanding one another as well as envisioning transformative change.
They aim to create intentional space that uplifts stories and ideas as to what a liberated future will be.
In doing this work, they ground themselves through meditative practices such as yoga, meditation, and nourishing their body with what Earth graciously offers.
With a B.A in Black Studies from UCSB, they have devoted themselves to a life-long commitment in dismantling oppressive systems and institutions whilst incorporating healing and joy going forward.
Don Hall (him/he), Colorado
Don Hall has had the good fortune to participate in the international Transition Towns Movement in a variety of capacities over the past 12 years. Initially serving for two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Transition Colorado, he went on to found and direct Transition Sarasota (Florida) from 2010 to 2016. A certified Transition Trainer and experienced facilitator, Don was named Co-Director of Transition US in 2017 and became its Interim Executive Director in 2020. Don holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University, a certification in Permaculture Design from the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, and currently lives in a multigenerational housing cooperative in Boulder, Colorado. In 2019, he edited and published 10 Stories of Transition in the US: Inspiring Examples of Community Resilience-Building.
Anthony (Tony) Barbero (he/him), California
Anthony (Tony) Barbero is a UCSB alumni, horticulturist, restoration ecologist, and environmental activist from San Francisco, California. He has worked in regenerative agriculture, environmental education, and the solar energy field, both as an installer and energy efficiency analyst. He currently lives in Isla Vista, where he founded the Isla Vista Food Forest.
Board of Directors
Ayako Nagano (she/her), California
Ayako Nagano is Managing Attorney at Midori Law Group in Berkeley, CA. She serves on the Boards of Transition Berkeley and Common Vision, which installs school gardens. Aya sits on the steering committees of the Green Leadership Trust, a coalition of board members of color promoting equity within the Green movement, and the NorCal Resilience Network. Aya is also co-chair of the International Transformational Resilience Coalition in California, working to build widespread levels of psycho-social-spiritual resilience in the age of climate change; serves on the Social Justice Working Group for Transition US; and organizes the Plastic Reduction Working Group at the Ecology Center. She was also recently appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee.
Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino, California
Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino is the newest member of our Transition US board. She is the Executive Director for One Step A La Vez, an organization that helps youth take their first step toward a more positive future. Ana Rosa graduated from UC Santa Barbara and has worked locally, statewide and nationally on many social justice efforts such as language justice, educational access, governmental transparency, support for working families and environmental justice issues, like ensuring everyone has clean drinking water. Ana Rosa continues this work through her involvement in developing a Central Coast Grassroots Green New Deal, her position on The City of Santa Barbara Creeks Commission, her role as vice president of the Santa Barbara (SB) County Outreach and Equity Commission for the SB countywide climate action plan, her radio show called ¡Que Madre! on KZAA 96.5fm, her roles on several non-profit boards, such as SB CAN and La Casa de la Raza, as well as her involvement in the steering committee of the Central Coast Climate Justice Network. She also serves as the president of the Central Coast Environmental Voters (formerly CCLCV). Last, but definitely not least, she is the proud mami of two daughters: Adela Susana & Gloria Jin-Ni.
Nathan Lou, California
Nathan was born and raised in San Diego and has completed an AS in Agriculture from Yuba College, and BS in Natural Resources, with special emphasis in Fish and Wildlife Conservation, from Oregon State University. With over 15 years of cultivation experience, Nathan has developed a passion for agro-ecology and agro-forestry. Nathan is the co-founder and executive director of Mongol Tribe, a community and capacity building 501c3 focused on bridging health and wellness with civic ecology. With pillars in co-operative development, regenerative practices, and education, Mongol Tribe is cultivating urban food forests and seed libraries for its Food & Medicine Sovereignty Program. Mongol Tribe is in the process of developing an edible urban forest that will host an apprenticeship program with an emphasis on traditional ecological knowledge and regenerative agriculture practices. Nathan is currently working on Palomar Mountain performing vegetative surveying for forest health, primarily studying the oak trees and relevant ethnobotanicals as part of Mongol Tribe’s Natural Land Management Program.
Jessica Cohodes, Wisconsin
Jessica Cohodes has spent 20+ years organizing people and groups. Advising corporate leadership teams, structuring social good nonprofits, co-founding community grassroots organizations and nurturing her dynamic family of five. She was formerly the Executive Synthesizer of Transition Milwaukee, who laid the seeds for the still fruitful Victory Garden Initiative.
While mostly self-taught through the school of life, Jessica has earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, an MA in Social Innovation from Edgewood College, and her Organic and Biodynamic Farming and Permaculture Certifications. Equal parts idealist and realist, she believes investing in human capital will bridge a world of innovators that drives purpose, spirit, and principle through the dawn of collective consciousness.
She is currently the Founder & CEO of Hivemind Teams LLC – a change management and facilitation consultancy which maximizes talent and structures that generate transformative group cultures and operating effectiveness.
She is also currently combing her hometown of Milwaukee, WI for a 19.5 inch hazel branch that has never borne fruit to forge her first magic wand. (Should any reader discover such a unicorn, Jessica would be delighted if they would leave it be and reach out.)
Rueben Elias Canedo, California
Growing up in a mixed status and binational family with a disabled body introduced me at an early age to harm, trauma, injustice, and oppression. Most importantly, it taught me how brilliant, resilient, loving, and transformative our family and community relationships are. I survived and am here today because of family and community. Growing up, everyone would take care of each other to make sure folx had food, shelter, and community. I believe in a world that will learn and heal beyond its current white-supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, and ableism. The way I can contribute to that direction is through our basic needs efforts. I’m humbled and privileged to share this community journey of belonging and justice.
Meleiza Figueroa, California
MELEIZA FIGUEROA is a PhD Candidate in Geography at UC Berkeley, a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and former National Press Director for the 2016 Stein/Baraka Green Party presidential campaign. She has been a longtime political journalist, educator and organizer involved in a wide range of movements for social & environmental justice.
As a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, she co-facilitates the Movement School for Revolutionaries, a political education & strategic planning initiative providing workshops on history, political theory, and skills training for activist and community groups, radical/progressive coalitions, and political organizations across the United States. She also serves on the steering committee of the Campus Antifascist Network, a national organization representing over two thousand students, faculty, and staff on hundreds of campus communities around the country, many of whom have been targeted for virulent campaigns of harassment, stalking, and intimidation for their opposition to the escalating antagonism and recruitment activity of fascist and white supremacist groups on school campuses.
Her experience in progressive media includes: over a decade as a staff producer for Pacifica Radio; lead researcher for the 2005 documentary “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”; and Executive Producer of the Green News Network, which evolved from the Stein/Baraka campaign’s pioneering use of social media livestream platforms to break the third-party blackout in corporate media and the presidential debates. She currently serves as an on-air correspondent for Free Speech TV’s “Rising Up With Sonali,” and has written for The Nation, Truthdig.com, Against the Current, and New Politics.
As an academic geographer studying agroecology, food sovereignty, and urban food justice, her research explores the socio-ecological aspects of food systems and responses to climate change within marginalized urban communities in the US and Latin America. Her work is fundamentally aimed at highlighting possibilities for innovative solutions to the multiple & compounded crises faced by excluded communities; and to document, preserve, and articulate the broader importance of diverse forms of knowledge & problem-solving that arise from situated & subaltern perspectives. She also specializes in economic history, political economy & globalization, urban studies, critical & postcolonial theory, the African Diaspora in the New World, and the dynamics of global crisis and popular revolt in the post-2008 period.